Learning a second or a foreign language has always been on top of our bucket lists as it is a challenging endeavour that will open a wide range of possibilities. From helping one land a new career, keeping your memory in tip-top shape, to even fostering positive attitudes towards cultural diversity, language is definitely playing an integral role in today’s society. Regardless of the degree of difficulty, having a few languages under your belt will certainly be of great value as it opens unlimited doors to understanding music, art, fashion, philosophy, and cuisine!

What language learning style do you have?

Perhaps, you are also finding yourself wanting to upskill and learn the most popular languages like Mandarin, French, German, or Spanish. If you are serious about gaining proficiency in any of these, then we highly suggest that you take on specific learning strategies based on your personality. According to research, each of us employs specific techniques and styles based on our personalities. Some find it easier to start by learning complex grammar rules, while others may enjoy actual discourse and immersion with the target language. Based on the learner strategy preferences, it was found out that there are basically four major language styles, and these are the following:

Communicative: For risk-taking and the curious

This learning style suggests that you can acquire a language by specifically being aware of the real meaning. In short, it is more focused on providing learner-centred lessons related to natural discourse and then slowly shifting into structured topics such as the grammatical rules. The communicative approach is perfect for you especially if you are:

  • Wanting to speak the language in the soonest possible time by using Latinized versions
  • Willing to take risks in the language by making mistakes and learning from them
  • Interested in authentic materials (voice records, movies, and songs) involving the use of the foreign language you want to learn
  • Not shy in trying to speak the target language with a native speaker
  • Engrossed with the idea of role-playing and opinion sharing with other language learners using the target language

Analytical: For responsible and dependable learners

This learning style is also known as the field-independent style which suggests that you can acquire a language best by specifically focusing on the features of the language. Instead of communicating right away, people who employ this approach to learning focus on the technical aspects such as grammar rules, sentence patterns and word formation. In short, it is more focused on providing structured lessons and then slowly progresses towards actual communication. The analytical approach is perfect for you especially if you:

  • Enjoy discovery learning and reading language-related content online
  • Put a high priority on accuracy and prevention of communicative mistakes
  • Are interested in studying alone by using language learning materials like workbooks with explanations on the correct answers
  • Learn better by examining language details and basic patterns
  • Wanting to memorize by heart the complexities of the language before speaking it
  • Intend to start language learning by memorizing the writing system

Authority-oriented: For learners looking for a specific structure

This holistic learning style suggests that you find yourself more confident when you learn through a teacher or when you enrol in verified language courses. This type of learning is somewhat similar to the aforesaid analytical strategy. The only difference is that in this type of learning, you prefer to have a native-speaking instructor who will explain the workbook to you. Instead of teaching yourself, you want someone knowledgeable to motivate you and help you out with the specific meaning of words, pronunciation and grammar rules. The authority-oriented approach is perfect for you especially if you:

  • Describe yourself as someone who is responsible and dependable
  • Want to have a full-blown lesson with an ‘academic’ feel or organized progression of concepts
  • Prefer learning environments with minimal interaction
  • Interested in learning with an instructor who prepares detailed lessons
  • Determined to understand and speak the target language with the help of the instructor
  • Want to learn by reading and writing rather than practice speaking right away

Concrete: For spontaneous and modern learners

This learning style is perfect if you enjoy using modern applications that can help in explaining language-related content. Your focus here is on practising and learning through different media, whether through music, visuals, games or through speaking practice. As with the communicative approach, this one is more focused on giving learner-centred experiences related to authentic dialogue while providing chunks of technical lessons on the side. The concrete approach is perfect for you especially if you are:

  • Interested in gamified language quizzes and using free modern language applications for learning, like the Ling App
  • Someone who learns through physical senses (touch, sight, taste, smell etc.)
  • Willing to practice the target language with native speakers

As I end this article, I hope that you were able to identify yourself with some of the above methods for language learning and that I was able to comprehensively shed light on these scientific learning styles. Remember that when it comes to learning, there is no guaranteed pattern that will work for everyone. We are unique in our own special ways and this is what makes learning a truly personal experience. Some may bea the more studious type while others may find it better to have a laid-back style to education.